Disney has new plans for EPCOT

Kenny Eckstein-Schoemann

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At this year’s D23 expo, Disney made some huge announcements about this park, which opened—and in many ways remains the same as—in 1982. In particular, I’ve got exciting news about arguably their biggest announcement, which revolves around their massive changes to EPCOT.

You see, Disney plans to overhaul some major areas at EPCOT as part of their update to all four of their parks leading up to the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. Some of these plans range from renovating Future World to become three of the park’s four “neighborhoods,” to new attractions, to the expansions they are bringing to the World Showcase. They’re even bringing back the original 1982 logo.

WORLD CELEBRATION

The first of these new “neighborhoods” will be known as World Celebration. Bob Chapek, Chairman of Parks, announced that this part of EPCOT will be the home of “new experiences that connect us to one another and the world around us.”

The first thing you will notice is a revamped version of Spaceship Earth. The ride will be getting updates to some of its old scenes with new scenes being added to breathe new life into this iconic attraction. Other additions are a wishing tree inside an enchanted forest, a three-level festival pavilion that will contain an entire park on the third level, and a new statue of the man who started it all, Walt Disney.

WORLD DISCOVERY

As you turn left from World Celebration, you will enter EPCOT’s second neighborhood, World Discovery. This land will be themed around science, technology, and space exploration. One of the new attractions coming to this area is a massive indoor roller coaster titled Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Taking the place of the classic Universe of Energy ride, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first Marvel-themed attraction to open in Walt Disney World. Once this ride opens in 2021, it will become the world’s longest enclosed roller coaster.

Disney is also turning the long-abandoned Wonders of Life pavilion into the new interactive PLAY! Pavilion. Here you’ll get to explore a digital metropolis filled with games, activities, and experiences. You’ll even get to meet real and virtual versions of your favorite Disney characters.

In late 2019, Disney will open a new restaurant next to Mission: SPACE, Space 220. Guests will be given the chance to board a space elevator to go up to the space station for this out-of-this-world dining experience. With the clear view you’ll have of Planet Earth as you’re eating, Space 220 will truly make you feel like you’re in outer space.

WORLD NATURE

To the right of World Celebration is the third neighborhood, World Nature. This area will inform and inspire guests on protecting the environment and maintaining the balance of nature.

One of the plans that was announced for this area was an interactive walkthrough attraction Journey of Water. This will be based on the hit animated Disney movie Moana. In this walkthrough, you’ll get to play and interact with living, magical water.

In the Land Pavilion, Disney will be replacing the long-running show Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable with a new show, Awesome Planet. This show will use nature photography, in-theater effects, and space sequences created by industrial lights and magic. Awesome Planet will open in January 2020.

WORLD SHOWCASE

World Showcase is the fourth and final area to receive changes and updates. The France Pavilion will have a new attraction titled Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, based on the hit Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille. This will be a trackless dark ride that will be a clone of the popular Ratatouille attraction at Disneyland Paris. This ride is being built at the back of the France Pavilion with an entire courtyard themed to the movie being constructed in front of the attraction.

Disney announced also plans to build a new Marry Poppins attraction in the United Kingdom Pavilion. Not much is known about it outside the fact the entrance will be a recreation of Cherry Tree Lane, the setting in which the film takes place. The actor who played Bert in the original Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke, made a special appearance on stage when Disney made the announcement.

There are even plans to replace the long-running Illuminations: Reflections of Earth nighttime spectacular with a new nighttime show known as HarmonioUS. This show will incorporate famous Disney music, large scale floats, LED panels, fountains, lights, fireworks, and lasers. When completed in 2020, this will be the largest nighttime spectacular that Disney has ever created.

These were all the huge announcements Disney made for the future of EPCOT. Will they manage to live up to their promise of making EPCOT “more Disney, timeless, relevant, and family friendly?” Will Disney finish all these changes in time for Walt Disney World’s 50 th anniversary? Whatever these new changes to this beloved park will bring to the table, it’s a good time to save up for a Disney vacation in the next couple of years.

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